Noticeboard: 8 September 2022

Welcome back, and we hope you've enjoyed a good summer break! This week's noticeboard contains the link for Sue Harrison's webinar on the Children and Young People's Plan ahead of the BEP conference in October and much more!

 

Children and Young People’s Plan: Webinar with Sue Harrison.

Ahead of the BEP conference in October, Sue Harrison would like to invite school leaders to a webinar where she will provide an update on the Children and Young People’s Plan as well as the Directorate’s Improvement Plan.  Two sessions were arranged so that school leaders could choose the session most convenient for them. The first session was due to take place on Monday 19th September which is now a bank holiday so that session has been cancelled.

Tuesday's webinar will take place on Teams (see the link above) and for those of you unable to make the session a link will be provided to a recording shortly afterwards. 

Learning to Shape Birmingham Conference - 4 & 5 October 2022 

After the launch in 2016, the annual Learning to Shape Birmingham Conference is returning this Autumn term. The Conference has always had the mission of bringing the community of Birmingham schools together and Birmingham Education Partnership is delighted to be able to do that in person again this year.

This year’s conference will offer attendees knowledge and learning around Leadership, Curriculum and Inclusion from forward thinking experts, including; Matthew Syed, Prof. Peter Fonagy, Michael Rosen, Branwen Jeffries, Rosemary Campbell-Stevens and Andrew Warren to name but a few. Attendees will also gain practical input from their peers through a variety of workshops.

You can book tickets via The Birmingham Education Hub, and a full speaker line-up and agenda can be found on the Learning to Shape Birmingham website.

Any queries should be referred to events@bep.education

Oracle Cloud

This message provides a start-of-school-year update regarding Oracle across HR, Finance, Accounts Payable, Payroll with regard to the actions taken over summer, dates for your diary this month and reminders. To support you with Oracle related queries, you can access a support routes document here, which will help you to direct your email and call to ensure your query reaches the correct person, first time. 

Finance  

  • Reconciliation Files - The Council 1b programme team has identified and created a solution to supply you with your weekly reconciliation files to support the link between your own Schools Management Information system and those of the Council. Initial testing has been successful, and we are now undergoing a further set of testing with a broader set of schools. 
  • Internal Billing - Over the summer break the 30 day auto-approval of internal bills was switched off. To assist you with processing of internal bills as this functionality is switched on, we have scheduled two refresher sessions on the 13th and 14th of September. If you have not received an invitation, please email hannah.burgess@birmingham.gov.uk before 10am on the 12th of September. 

Accounts Payable 

  • Weekly Report - Throughout the summer break, Simplified Loader users should have received the weekly report on invoices from the school payments team. At all times, please ensure you are referring to the most recent report sent to view the history of your invoice progress. 
  • Common Simplified Loader Error – The majority of invoices are now processing through the Simplified Loader without issue. However, during the summer break the School Payments Teams have worked through over 1500 invoices submitted to the Simplified Loader and that required manual revalidation. Over 75% of these invoices that required manual intervention by the team were entered incorrectly; the VAT was missing or entered incorrectly or the invoice itself was out of balance. Other common errors were duplicates, incorrect CIT deductions and invoices submitted without an invoice attached. Please take a moment to double check your invoice before submitting to the Simplified Loader, and if you have questions about VAT, please contact your finance support provider. 
  • Reminder for supplier checks on Simplified Loader – When you engage with a supplier please check if they are listed on the simplified loader, regardless if you paid them prior to April 2022. If the supplier is not listed, please ensure you send the Data Validation team a completed new supplier form 30 days before you must raise the payment.  
  • Invoice Guidance – Following feedback from School Finance Users, we have created a simple invoice guidance to assist you to review an invoice before processing them on the Simplified Loader.

HR 

  • Employee Self-Service – The ESS test roll-out commenced prior to the summer break and has been well received. The full roll out will continue during the Autumn term. Schools will receive notice of when the roll out will take place for them along with guidance to be shared with school employees. 
  • Incremental Progression (Performance Management) – You will have received an email containing a spreadsheet for population for Incremental progression payments. Should you require PM to be paid, please complete, and return as per the email instructions. 
  • Leavers & New Working Patterns - In September we anticipate our Form Authorisers and Form Raisers will be processing new working patterns, salary changes and leavers. Please prioritise the processing of any changes that impact payroll to assure employee’s receive correct payment. Please be vigilant to put in the correct day to avoid over or under payments as manual changes to your entries will take significant admin time for payroll to process. 

Payroll 

  • Payslips for August will arrive with schools the week commencing 5th September  
  • Oracle entries that impact Payroll must be submitted by the following dates to impact September Payroll 
  • Contractual HR changes (Other than new starters): Wednesday 7th September COB 
  • OTL Input:  Wednesday 14th September COB 
 

Sept-22

Oct-22

Nov-22

Deadline for all transactional submissions for payroll

07/09/22

07/10/22

07/11/22

Deadline for OTL input for payment in Month

14/09/22

14/10/22

14/11/22

Payday

28/09/22

28/10/22

28/11/22

COVID Reporting and Outbreak Management 

Covid-19 is no longer regarded as an enhanced incident and will now be managed in the same way as any other health protection issue (i.e., “business-as-usual", BAU) in the autumn.

As a part of this change, the Birmingham City Council Health Protection Response (BCC - HPR) team will stand down all operations on 30 September 2022.

From 1 September, settings do not need to notify the BCC – HPR (contact tracing) team or UKHSA of positive cases and should manage cases internally within current guidelines.

UKHSA will support settings with identifying outbreaks where there is evidence of spread within the setting.

To confirm, please do not send any further emails to contacttracing@birmingham.gov.uk (this email will cease from 15th September).

If support is needed to manage outbreaks, contact UKHSA at westmidlands.arc@ukhsa.gov.uk or call 0344 225 3560.

A copy of an updated Outbreak Management Plan for settings will be published next week.

Please follow this link for the new DfE guidance.

School Admissions Update

Year 7 and 14-19 Admissions September 2023

Online admissions opened on 1 September 2022 for Year 7 and 14-19 applications. Parents resident in Birmingham should apply through the Birmingham City Council website up until the deadline of 31 October 2022.  Further information, as well as the admission arrangements to support parents with making their preferences, can be found on our website.  Advice and support is also available from Children's Services on 0121 303 1888.

All Birmingham maintained primary, junior and all-through Schools were sent a letter prior to the end of term in July 2022 to distribute to parents/carers with children due to transfer to secondary school next year without an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). This letter contains key information, including important guidance for parents with a child born between 1 September 2011 to 31 August 2012, and who had deferred entry agreed at the point they were due to start Reception. If you need a copy of this letter then please email admissions@birmingham.gov.uk

Summer Born Children

Where a parent has decided to delay their child’s start at school until aged 5, the decision for the admission authority is whether it is in the child’s best interests to join reception out of their normal age group, as is required by the School Admissions Code (the Code). 

The latest research by the Department for Education shows that the majority of requests for delayed entry to reception are now approved, which reflects the clearer understanding admission authorities now have of their duties under the Code. More summer born children who started school in reception aged 5 are starting to transfer to secondary school. The Code requires parents of children who delayed their start in reception to apply once again for them to be educated out of their normal year group in secondary school, and for admission authorities to consider these requests in the same way as the original request.

It can rarely be in the best interests of a child to miss a year of school so we would like to remind admission authorities of the advice from the Department for Education on the admission of summer born children which asks admission authorities to take into account the fact that the child has been educated in a different year group to that point and, unless there are sound educational reasons to do otherwise, the assumption should be that the child remains outside of their normal year group. Children educated out of year group should not be disadvantaged at secondary transition. Further information on the deferred entry process can be found here.

Procedures for the Admission of Year 7 Pupils

All pupils who were on the school’s offer list at the end of the secondary admission round in July, should be placed on roll at the school in September.

Should any child fail to attend during the first two weeks of the academic year, the school’s usual attendance procedures should be followed. This should include:

  • making ‘reasonable enquiries’ in the event of the family’s whereabouts being unknown and where the child cannot be located
  • establishing with the family if the child is on roll with another school, including contacting that school to confirm attendance
  • using ‘FAST-track to Attendance’ including offers of ‘Early Help’ to families unable or unwilling to send their children to school and following any subsequent statutory procedures accordingly.

After the first 10 school days, and for Year 7 cases only, where the family cannot be located after making reasonable enquiries including home visits, phone calls to listed contacts and talking to neighbours, the school should refer the case back to the In-Year Admissions team (inyearadmissions@birmingham.gov.uk) .

School Attendance Procedures

FAST-track to Attendance has been updated and is now online.  For the guidance and associated letters please use this link. Please ensure the whole school letter is shared with all parents in your school, either by post, pupil post, email, newsletters and online.

To reflect some of the changes expected of schools and local authorities outlined in the DfE guidance, Working together to improve school attendance’  the emphasis is now on early help, so Step One in the FAST-track to Attendance guidance has been expanded and strengthened.  There is now comprehensive advice on a number of issues such as when to become concerned about a child’s attendance, illness absence, children with EHCPs/SEND, emotionally based school avoidance.  This means that FAST-track has moved from a legal process to the attendance procedure all schools should use when working with children with high levels of absence for any reason and should be incorporated into the school’s procedures. In addition:

  • Where attendance becomes a concern, schools must always seek the voice of the child as the first intervention and ensure that their voice is heard during any assessment.
  • Schools will need to further evidence their early help offer at Step One when referring to ELIT.   
  • Parents must be offered an informal meeting to discuss the child’s attendance.  Where parents don’t respond to phone calls, letters or other communications inviting them to attend a meeting, there is an additional early help letter schools are being asked to send to parents.  Schools are also advised to consult with their the local early help co-ordinator for support in these situation;
  • Where excessive illness absence is a concern, schools are expected to seek consent from parents for a referral to the school nurse whether there is a known medical condition or not.
  • In cases of emotionally based school avoidance, schools must seek consent from parents for a consultation with the STICK team and instigate #you’vebeenmissed.
  • The ‘action plan’ at the end of the school attendance review meeting is now called a ‘Parent/School Contract’.
  • The threshold for legal action in cases of unauthorised absence has now been reduced to 10 sessions.  This means that, though there must be further unauthorised absence to progress to the next FAST-track stage, it doesn’t have to add up to 10 sessions prior to the formal warning notice being issued.

The Leave in Term Time (Legal) process has also been updated to take into account the reduced threshold for action, bringing Birmingham in line with local authority neighbours and national expectations.  In essence, if the school wishes to refer any unauthorised leave from last academic year, the previous threshold of 20 sessions must be used as outlined in the previous Code of Conduct.  For any leave taken from September 2022, schools can refer unauthorised leave in term time cases where:

  • the children concerned have returned to school
  • the relevant leave denied (LD) letter has been sent, following the guidance
  • where there has been at least 10 continuous sessions of G codes (5 days) from September 2022

Schools can also now use electronic signatures for Headteachers though the Headteacher still need to have reviewed the case before a decision as to authorisation is made.

Training:

Work is continuing on a free comprehensive, online training programme for schools relating to school attendance.  As soon as it is available, the details will be shared on the Birmingham School Noticeboard so please watch this space!

As always, schools can contact the Education Legal Intervention Team in relation to any attendance queries.

Education Safeguarding Briefing

Training Schedule for the Autumn Term

The Education Safeguarding Training Schedule for this term has been published and can be accessed by following this link.

The team have also created Level 1 Safeguarding Awareness for Schools and Education Settings, which will assist DSLs to adapt and deliver internally when necessary.

DSL Network Meetings

Your Safeguarding Officers and DSL Network Facilitators are:

DSL Network meeting dates will be available shortly. 

DBS Checks for Visiting Professionals

The Education Safeguarding Team receive concerns from the Birmingham Children’s Trust colleagues reporting that some local schools insist on seeing copies of DBS certificates. Schools are reminded that they should not ask visiting professionals to produce DBS certificates. 

Birmingham City Council issued a policy statement on this matter in 2018 and it remains unchanged - DBS checks for visiting professionals.

The relevant paragraphs state: 

  • If the visitor is a Birmingham Children’s Trust social worker or a family support worker or from BCC education services the BCT or BCC name badge implies an in-date DBS for their first and second visit.
  • Any visitor working within the school three times within a 30 day period should be recorded on the single central register, but you only need to record their name, organisation, ID check and record sight of the letter from line manager or the DBS number, if supplied. In the case of activity that is not regulated a note ‘DBS not required’ should be made on the SCR.

Expression of Interest for Resource Base Provision

To support the urgent need for additional SEND specialist places across the city and in line with our developing inclusion strategy, we are proposing to increase capacity and the number of SEND resource base provision within our mainstream schools.

We are seeking Expressions of interest (EOI) from all our mainstream schools both primary and secondary, who are considering setting up a new resource base or would like to increase the capacity of their existing resource base provision. We are particularly interested in expanding provision for our young learners with Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC), Cognition and Learning (C&L), and Social Emotional mental Health needs (SEMH).

The resource base would cater for primary Key Stage 1 and 2, or secondary Key Stage 3 and 4 and expressions of interest can extend to Key stage 5 to support transition. We are particularly interested in securing positive transition points and interested in speaking with providers with established links to primary schools with existing resource bases, or groups considering provision across multiple schools for example.

Schools should complete an EOI application form if they are interested in providing additional SEND resource base provision.

Please return the form to edsi.enquiries@birmingham.gov.uk by 7 October 2022.

Returning the form will allow us to start a conversation with you around areas of demand, numbers, process and funding.

If you would like to have an initial conversation please contact:  

SEND Free School Bids

As set out in the recent special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and alternative provision (AP) green paper, the government has set out plans to build 60 new centrally-delivered special and AP free schools across the country.

The Department for Education (DfE) are now inviting local authorities to apply for new special free schools.

Birmingham City Council have submitted initial pre-applications (expressions of interest) for three SEND free schools:

  • Two ASC designated 4-19 schools of 400 places each. One located in the north of Birmingham, the other in the south of Birmingham.
  • One SEMH/ASC designated 14-19 school with 120 places, located as near to the city centre as possible.

We are looking to consult interested parties before submitting applications with this consultation running from 8 September to 5 October 2022.

Please follow this link to access the consultation and for more details: https://www.birminghambeheard.org.uk/people-1/sendfreeschoolpreapplication

Any queries should be directed to ediplaceplanning@birmingham.gov.uk

Serious Case Review – Hakeem Hussain

Birmingham Safeguarding Children Partnership has confirmed that publication of the Serious Case Review into the tragic death of Hakeem Hussain took place on 1 September 2022.

The Serious Case Review and Learning Lessons Briefing Note is now available to download on the BSCP website:  http://bit.ly/BSCP-SC.

The briefing note provides a short summary of the review, highlights areas for practice improvement and identifies good practice and learning. Additionally, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust have developed a YouTube film, ‘Managing Asthma in Children’, which provides advice for parents on caring for children with asthma and Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care Board have developed a 7-Minute Briefing Note titled ‘Childhood Asthma Death & Child Neglect’ for health colleagues. All of these resources can be accessed via http://bit.ly/BSCP-SC.

Bank Mandate Fraud Warning

Birmingham Audit’s Corporate Fraud Team are warning school staff to be particularly vigilant at the start of the new term for bank mandate or payment diversion frauds.

This type of scam involves a fraudster creating an email address that closely resembles that of a supplier to the school.  They will then email the school, initially asking that contact details for the supplier are changed on school systems.  Once the fraudsters have been assured that their contact details have been successfully updated, they will email again to notify the school of a change of bank details for the supplier.  If school staff then attempt to use the contact details held on the system to verify the change, they will be unknowingly seeking that verification from the fraudsters themselves.

One West Midlands Authority has unfortunately just lost £80,000 to this type of scam.  Birmingham City Council fortunately managed to foil two similar attempts earlier this year, having noticed that the suppliers’ company names were spelt slightly incorrectly on each email address.

Staff should be particularly alert to emails purporting to come from suppliers asking for contact or bank details to be changed, or emails purporting to be from senior members of staff asking for urgent payments to be made.  Should such a request be received, staff should be reminded to follow the ‘Take Five to Stop Fraud’ advice:

STOP - If you receive a request to make an urgent payment, change supplier bank details or provide financial information, take a moment to stop and think.

CHALLENGE - Could it be fake? Verify all payments and supplier details directly with the company on a known phone number or in person first.  Search for the supplier’s phone number on the internet, rather than using one held on our system.

PROTECT - Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve been scammed.  Report the matter immediately to the Corporate Fraud Team – fraudhotline@birmingham.gov.uk or 0121 303 9335 or 07825 979 269.

Further information about this type of scam, and other business scams, can be obtained from the Take Five website: https://www.takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/advice/business-advice/invoice-and-mandate-business/

Engaging Fathers - Multi-Agency Training Course

The Birmingham Safeguarding Children Partnership (BSCP), on behalf of Birmingham Children's Trust, is delighted to offer a new multi-agency training course - 'Engaging Fathers - Creating Father Inclusive Health and Parental Services to Reduce Parental Conflict'. 

Suitable for Health and maternity services, early years, early help and social care and the family workforce, including voluntary sector, this interactive, evidence-based training course provides participants with knowledge and strategies to work productively with fathers in the families from conception onwards. The course will help you develop a father-inclusive approach to supporting couple and parental relationships, drawing on BSCP's strong evidence and understanding of ‘what works’.

Courses will be held virtually on various dates from the end of September 2022 until end February 2023 and bookings can be made by simply following this link.

To view and book all BSCP courses please visit Birmingham Safeguarding Children Partnership.

HR Training for School Governors

HR Services for Schools is now offering a series of HR bitesize sessions designed specifically for school governors. Spaces are limited so book early to avoid disappointment!

Governor training - Dealing with difficult conversations

28 September

 4.30 – 5.30 pm

Governor training - How to deal with a staff complaint against the Headteacher

5 October

4.30 – 5.30 pm             

Governor training - Maintaining positive relationships in the workplace

12 October

4.30 – 5.30 pm

Governor training - How to conduct a Hearing

19 October

4.30 – 5.30 pm

Governor training - Workforce Planning – The Role of the Redundancy Committee

2 November

4.30 – 5.30 pm

Sessions are free to HR Services for Schools Gold and Silver ER customers up to a maximum of 2 delegates.  Additional delegates charged at £30pp. For schools that do not purchase our ER package the price is £30pp.

Commonwealth Games Equipment Giveaway

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee and Sport England are pleased to invite community organisations to apply for sporting equipment which was used at the Games.  

Who can apply?

Non-commercial, community-based organisations within the West Midlands, such as local voluntary and community groups, schools and educational establishments (for non-curricular activity), sports clubs, Community Interest Companies (CIC’s) and social enterprises who deliver, or would like to deliver, community-based projects which seek to tackle inactivity and promote the physical and mental benefits of leading an active life.

What this opportunity can't support

  • Applications from individuals
  • Commercial organisations
  • Instances where equipment would be for personal or commercial use
  • Applications from local authorities

Further information and guidance on how to apply can be found at the following link: Commonwealth Games Equipment Giveaway.

Health and Safety Training Courses for School and Nursery Staff

School Site Safety – 8th & 9th September 2022

Start Time:  9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Cost: £148.00 per delegate

Venue:  Delivered via Microsoft Teams. Schools must book online.

Paediatric First Aid – 12th & 13th September 2022

Start Time:  9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Cost: £160.00 per delegate

Venue:  Stirchley Baths, Bournville Lane, Stirchley, Birmingham B30 2JT. Schools must book online.

MIDAS Refresher – 22nd September 2022

Start Time:  9:30 a.m. to 13:00 p.m.
Cost: £171.00 per delegate

Venue:  Driver Training Center, Redfern Depot, Kings Road, Tyseley, B11 2AB. Schools must book online. 

Level  3 Award – First Aid at Work (Re-qualification) – 7th & 10th October 2022

Start Time:  9:00 a.m. to 16:00 p.m.
Cost: £160.00 per delegate

Venue:  Stirchley Baths, Bournville Lane, Stirchley, Birmingham B30 2JT. Schools must book online. 

All enquires regarding above should be directed to; schoolsafety@birmingham.gov.uk

Note:  Lunch or refreshments will NOT be provided.

Annual Tracking Cycle - Annex A and B

To: All Providers of 14-19 Education and Training in Birmingham 

Ensuring the participation of all young people aged 16-19 in Post 16 education and training in Birmingham 
 
You will have recently received instructions and Annexes A and B spreadsheets for completion of the Stage 3 Annual Participation Survey (APS).  The APS helps us to identify which young people aged 16-19 are participating in education and training, and any young people who may have disengaged from education or training, to ensure they receive help and support to re-engage as soon as possible. 

We would be grateful for your co-operation in sending this information to us in line with the deadlines listed below: 
 
ANNEX A – Enrolment data for all Post 16 learners on-roll by Friday, 23 September 2022 
This return will provide the details of all young people who have enrolled at your establishment in academic years 12, 13 and 14 from Sept 2022. This includes young people who are continuing into Year 13 or the second year of a two-year course 
 
ANNEX B – destinations of all Year 11 and Year 12 leavers by Friday, 30 September 2022 
(This return will record the destinations for all Year 11 and 12 leavers from 2021/22) 
 
Please ensure completed returns are sent back using the Office Message Encryption (OME) software/secure method used to Insight@Birmingham.gov.uk  

After receipt of Annex A and Annex B the remaining Annexes C, D and E will be forwarded for your completion.

Thank you in advance for your support and co-operation to ensure that all young people are continuing in education or training, to ensure a smooth transition into adulthood. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact the 14-19 Participation and Skills Service - Insight@Birmingham.gov.uk

West Midlands Police Museum – ‘Free’ Teachers’ Open Day

West Midlands Police Museum are holding the second of their free open days for educators on Friday, 23 September 2022.

Teachers and other education representatives can book up to two free tickets for a visit which will include a guided tour and an opportunity to meet with their Engagement Officer and the team to see what the museum can offer.

Tickets are limited. Book now using this link: Teachers' Open Day - West Midlands Police Museum or contact Archie for further details on 07775 557339.

You can register for the webinar by following this link

'Free' Junior Peacemaker Workshops available to schools in Autumn Term

The Junior Peacemaker workshop being offered this term has the theme ‘Creating a Healthy School: wellbeing & relationship-building’ which looks at the connections between wellbeing and peace. It offers frameworks for exploring wellbeing and promotes spending time in green space, or bringing nature into everyday life, to benefit both mental and physical wellbeing.

It is for a whole key Stage 2-year group (up to 3 forms) over a day. 

There are three spaces available for Primary Schools in the West Midlands during the Autumn term, so please email Libbs as soon as possible, to book your school a workshop.

Junior Peacemakers bring the trainers and resources needed to introduce the theme to your school.  The day is linked to the UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools Award and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Although the workshops are externally funded and provided free of charge for schools, you may be contacted after the workshop to ask for a donation towards their work.  This contribution will help them make the workshop available to another school. 

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